Ellsworth, MDI girls claim PVC Large School championships; Orono makes it sweep in small-school race

After blitzing the field to claim the individual title at the Penobscot Valley Conference championship meet Saturday afternoon, Ellsworth senior Brayden Beardsley had only one complaint about Hermon High School's new course. 

Beardsley admitted that some of the corners on the course were a little on the sharp side, but that didn't stop him and his Eagles for claiming PVC supremacy for the second year in a row on a perfect fall day at Hermon High School

Beardsley, son of Ellsworth head coach Andy Beardsley, covered the 5-kilometer c ourse in 16 minutes, 51.12 seconds, and three teammates finished behind him in the top 10 to power the Eagles to the team crown.

Beardsley's Eagles compiled 41 points to outdistance runner-up John Bapst, which tallied 53 points in the nine-team large school (Class B) field. 

Presque Isle tallied 75 points to finish third, while Mount Desert Island was fourth with 87 points, with Caribou's 107 rounding out the top five. 

Aleta Looker made it a clean sweep for Ellsworth in the individual races while the MDI girls romped to a team victory.

The top-ranked Trojans tucked all seven runners in the top 10 en route to a 23-point effort. John Bapst claimed runner-up honors with 70 points. 

Caribou finished third with 86 points, Ellsworth fourth with 92 and Presque Isle fifth with 130.

The Orono boys and girls went on to sweep the small-school team competitions while Mattanawcook Academy's Tia Tardy and Matthew Toussaint of Fort Kent were individual champs.

The Red Riot girls outdistanced George Stevens Academy 23-53, while Mattanawcook tallied 60 points to finish third. The Orono boys tallied 33 points while Fort Kent took second with 62 and Bucksport third with 116.

In the girls' races, Looker used her track and field speed to her advantage in breaking away from the field early in the race and cruising home from there in 19:28.85. 

Looker said in a video interview after the race she is in her best shape of the season, and would like to break 19 minutes at next weekend's Eastern Maine Class B regional championships in Belfast.

"It was a fun race," Looker commented. "I wanted to see what I could do. I feel pretty strong. I want to break 19."

Mattanawcook's Hardy was timed in 20:20.68 to finish first among Class C competitors. 

Team-wise, Orono and MDI came in as favorites and showed why. 

The Trojans were powered by Isabel Erickson's second-place finish, while Waylan Henggeler was right behind in third. 

Rounding out MDI's lineup were Caroline Driscoll in fifth, Lydia Dacorle in sixth, Emma Strong in seventh, Olivia Erickson in eighth and Erin White in 10th.

Lily Koffman, Hannah Steelman and Kassidy Dill recorded a 2-3-4 finish to power Orono while Jordan Richards (sixth) and Olivia Fandel (eighth) rounded out the Red Riots' scorers.

For the boys, Ellsworth showed it hasn't missed a beat despite missing top runner Dan Curts due to injury, but the Eagles are hopeful he will return for the regional championships next weekend.

Beardsley certianly picked up the slack in leading Ellsworth's pack.

"After walking the course I figured I would try and start hard," Beardsley said in a video interview after the race. 

He certainly did in leading wire to wire, but more importantly, teammate Robert Looker, Aleta's brother, was second among his large-school brethren while Cooper Holmes was sixth and Frank King was seventh.

"We're really hoping to do well," said Beardsley. "Robert had a little bit of a knee thing and he hasn't run since Wednesday, so he tried to take it a little bit easy today."

Toussaint, who was timed in 17:07.25, cruised to individual honors in the small-school race while leading his Fort Kent club to a second-place effort behind Orono. 

The Red Riots' pack was simply too strong, as Tristan Butterfield, James O'Neil and Conall Malloy finished 3-4-5. Rouding out the five scoring runners were Josh Marquis in ninth and Brian Westhoven in 12th.